Quinoa bowl with Avocado and Egg


Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, August 2017 Issue


2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

2 large eggs

1/2 avocado, sliced



Whisk together 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, vinegar and dash of salt. Set aside.

Combine quinoa, tomatoes, beans, cilantro and another dash of salt. Toss gently and divide between two bowls.

Heat a skillet over medium heat; add 1/2 tsp oil, swirl to coat.

Crack eggs, one at a time, into the pan.

Cover and cook until whites are set, 3-4 minutes.

Drizzle dressing over quinoa mixture, top with eggs and sliced avocado.



We have decided we like food in bowls. I don’t know why, but lately everything I’m eating is from a bowl. Perhaps it’s comforting to be able to cradle the warm bowl and breathe in the fragrant steam….who knows? But seriously, almost every meal I made over holiday break was served in a bowl.

Regrettably, my photo doesn’t show all of the delicious goodness hiding under the egg and avocado, but I can promise you that it was there. This was the perfect blend of flavors and textures; the creamy avocado and egg were offset by the pop of the tomatoes, beans and quinoa. Cilantro added brightness to the dish, but you can leave it out if you are not a fan. The only thing I’m going to change next time is I’m going to double the amount of dressing I make; I know the point of this dish is to be super healthy, but it needed a touch more acid from the vinegar to really make it shine.

According to Cooking Light, these ingredients are all anti-inflammatory, which was beneficial after eating and drinking during Christmas and Hanukkah. Though advertised as breakfast, I made this for dinner…does our stomach really know what time it is? Because of the protein from the quinoa, eggs and beans this was a perfectly filling portion. The avocado and olive oil added a dash of heart-healthy fats, so this really could be the perfect meal! Let me know what you think.

P.S. This was also super quick to make, and easy to pull together – maybe 25 minutes, tops?


Smoky Lentil Stew


Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, November 2017 issue


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped carrots

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp. tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

5 oz. baby kale or spinach

1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils

4 cups unsalted vegetable stock

2 1/2 cups water

5 large eggs



Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add onions and carrots, cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, tomato paste, paprika, cumin salt, black and red pepper. Cook 1 minute.

Add kale and lentils; cook, stirring often, until kale begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Add stock and water, increase heat to high.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, 35-40 minutes.

Using a ladle, form 5 indentations in the soup.

Crack eggs, one at a time, and slip into each indentation.

Cover and cook over medium-low heat until whites are set, 6-8 minutes.

Serve immediately.



Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!!! Not only did I poach an egg, I poached FIVE eggs! Beautifully, I might add! The whites did run into each other a little, as you can see in the picture above, but each egg still firmed up nicely and had a delicious runny yolk.

Before my subscription to Cooking Light began arriving, my friend lent me hers, and I came across this recipe. It sounded delicious and seemed like a perfect dinner to warm us during the weeks of cold weather we had been experiencing. Jason was game, so I gave it a try.

This is just as hearty and filling as I hoped. (Before I continue, I will concede that I added an extra 5 minutes to the cooking time for the lentils when I typed this recipe; they were a little too al dente for our liking, but next time I’m sure they’ll be perfect.) This stew is very flavorful; the carrots add a touch of sweetness, the paprika is obviously a bit smoky, the kale, earthy. Actually, the egg is also a bit sweet if you leave the yolk runny, and it kind of binds everything together. This is the perfect meal for a freezing night, and even though it does take about 50 minutes all together, most of that time you can be doing something else while it simmers on the stove. Cooking Light suggested this be served with fresh, crusty bread, and while that would be good to help sop up any leftover yolk, we didn’t find it necessary. The lentils and egg are so filling, bread would have been too much.

This is a great vegetarian(-ish?) meal, and any leftovers can be reheated the next day. It will cook the egg yolk a tiny bit more, but I found it just as enjoyable, regardless. Enjoy!


Tuscan-style Roasted Carrots


Recipe from http://www.afamilyfeast.com


2 pounds carrots, sliced

4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 whole lemons, sliced into four slices each

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to 400°
In a large bowl, toss carrots with garlic, salt, pepper and oil. Place on a sheet pan and top with lemon slices.
Roast for 20-25 minutes, flip and roast for another 20-25, or until tender.
In a small saucepan, simmer balsamic vinegar over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.
Pour vinegar over carrots and lemons and serve hot.
For Christmas this year, my sister, who always hosts, decided we were going to have an Italian themed dinner. She was very surprised when everyone was overjoyed at this prospect!
I always volunteer to make vegetables because I’m kind of nuts about them; Jason and I have come to realize that we eat *way* more vegetables than normal people do (minus vegetarians, of course). I also have to admit to being a little bit of a control freak, so volunteering to help cook allows me to satisfy all of my issues at once.
I believe I found this recipe through FoodNetwork.com. It seemed very easy and was the same temperature as the other dishes I was making so I figured I would give it a try. It was delicious! Roasted carrots are fantastically sweet on their own, so adding roasted garlic and beautifully caramelized lemons brought depth and richness to the dish. The lemon flavor was very concentrated, so feel free to cut back to using just one lemon if you’re not looking for a powerful flavor. Likewise, balsamic vinegar, especially when reduced, is quite pungent and rich – almost syrupy in texture – and adds a huge amount of flavor. All together, this seemed like a very flavorful, rich dish, but in reality it’s extremely healthy!
Because of the strong flavors I would not necessarily recommend it for younger children, but my entire family loved it. It’s also easy enough to make during a weeknight and would compliment almost any type of protein. Enjoy!


Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes


Recipe from Real Simple magazine


4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1-1 1/2 lemon(s), juiced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

pepper, to taste

1 lb green beans, trimmed

8 small red potatoes, quartered

1 1/2 lb chicken (I used thighs)


Right out of the oven; look how crispy the potatoes are!


Preheat oven to 450°; coat a baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk together.

Add the green beans and toss; remove with a slotted spoon and place on bottom of baking dish.

Add potatoes to the mixture, toss to coat, use spoon to arrange on top of green beans.

Finally, add chicken to the remaining mixture and coat thoroughly.

Place chicken on top of potatoes (skin side up, if using bone-in, with skin).

Pour any remaining mixture over chicken.

Roast for 40 minutes then check chicken; should be 165°.

Remove to a plate and roast additional 15 minutes, if needed, until potatoes are fork-tender.


You can see all the layers of deliciousness in this picture.


This is soooooooo gooooood! An easy, one-dish meal that takes 10 minutes to prep is always a winner in my book, and one that is this delicious is a keeper.

The original recipe calls for a layer of lemon slices at the bottom of the dish, and the first time I made it I did that but Jason and I agreed that it was too lemony. When I made it the second time, I left the layer out and added the juice of another half lemon; I don’t know why, but that made a difference. The flavors blended together better. Feel free to add as much garlic as you like; I put in 4 large cloves and thought it was perfect. The garlic will roast along with everything else and it mellows in flavor as it does. This is a savory, bright, garlic-y, hearty dish that is good all year round. We had to exercise serious restraint to not eat the entire pan.

Because I used skinless, boneless chicken thighs (this time), I covered the dish with aluminum foil while it roasted. After 40 minutes, I turned the chicken, removed the foil and let it roast for 15 more minutes to be sure the potatoes on the bottom were fully cooked. Next time, I will leave the foil on the entire time, because the top of the chicken dried out a little once the foil was removed. (If I had made this with bone-in chicken that still had the skin on I would not put on the foil. That way the skin will have a chance to get nice and crispy.) I also pared down how much oil I used; the original recipe calls for 6 tablespoons, but that is way too much, especially if the chicken skin renders even more fat into the dish. I think I used three and a half to four tablespoons this time, and that was a perfect amount to make sure everything got a nice coating of sauce.

Though it takes a while in the oven, this really is an easy dish that can be prepared the night before and thrown in as soon as you get home. If green beans aren’t in season, I think this could be made with carrots, parsnips or acorn squash, just adjust the cooking time accordingly. Enjoy!

Asian Quinoa Salad


Recipe from http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com

Ingredients, salad:

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 cup chopped red cabbage*

1 cup shelled and cooked edamame*

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup shredded carrots*

1 cup diced cucumber (I used 2 mini ones – fewer seeds)

Ingredients, dressing:

1/4 low sodium soy sauce (or tamari sauce)

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1/4 tsp grated ginger

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

black pepper, to taste

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*To simplify this recipe, buy pre-shredded cabbage and carrots; shelled, cooked edamame can be found in your frozen food section. Just microwave and add! Saves SO much time!


Place cooked quinoa in a bowl and add all the vegetables. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients.

Pour over quinoa and veggies, stir to combine.

Can be served warm or room temperature.



I’m always afraid that there’s never enough dressing…and yet, I hate over-dressed, sloppy salads. This was the perfect amount of dressing, even though there was a ton of this salad!

I thought this was a terrific side dish. Quinoa is famous for being full of protein, as are the edamame beans, so this really can stand on its own as a main vegetarian dish. The cabbage, cucumber, peppers and carrots added a nice crunch, while the edamame lent some chewy texture to the dish. Jason isn’t a fan of edamame, so I cooked them and left them on the side, only adding to my plate, which is why you don’t see them in every photo.

The soy dressing was noticeable, but not overwhelming. (Please note, I didn’t add any extra salt; even when you use low-sodium soy sauce it still contains a strong salty flavor.) The inclusion of the sesame oil and rice vinegar gave the dressing a silky feel with a bit of a bright pop to it. The green onions and sesame seeds also added a little extra crunch. I love cilantro so I added about 1/2 a cup, but if this is a flavor you don’t care for it can be omitted without taking away from the dish.

To round out this meal, I pan-seared chicken breasts in 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, then diced it and added it as we went. As I stated before, this really doesn’t need any other protein, but it would go well with almost anything. This can easily be made ahead of time and brought to a party, and since there isn’t any mayonnaise you don’t have to worry about it spoiling if it sits out for a while.

This meal is really the epitome of Simplify with Sarah: pre-prepped ingredients, a quick toss and you can have a flavorful, healthy meal in 15 minutes. Enjoy!


Grilled Romaine with Corn and Tomatoes

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Adapted from the July/August issue of Redbook


1 head Romaine lettuce

1 can sweet corn

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 small shallot

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbsp

juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper



Thinly slice the shallot, slice the tomatoes in half.

Drain the corn, then add all ingredients to a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan cheese.

Add salt and pepper to your liking, then pour dressing over vegetables. Refrigerate until needed.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat.

Slice the lettuce in half lengthwise and brush with remaining tablespoon oil.

Salt and pepper, if desired.

Grill cut-side down for 3 minutes.

Top with corn and tomato mixture and serve immediately.


Letting everything sit together marries the flavors together.


I have seen recipes that grill lettuce for some time now, so I figured I would give it a shot.

I combined several different dressing suggestions and really like what I came up with. In fact, there could have even been more lemon juice added to brighten all the flavors. Grilling the lettuce was really neat! It added a smoky depth that I never would have expected. Next time I’m going to leave it on a little longer, maybe 4-5 minutes to really char it. Watch it carefully if you do this, however! Those suckers can incinerate in a second.

The sweetness of the tomatoes and corn were balanced nicely by the smokiness of the lettuce and the bite of the shallot and dressing tied everything together nicely. I had a decent amount of the corn and tomatoes left over, so feel free to grill two heads of lettuce instead of one; it just depends on how much topping you like.

I served this next to chicken thighs marinated in olive oil, Sazon and Adobo, but it would also be great with a steak or even portobello mushroom caps (shout out to all my vegetarian friends). Overall, this is a great side dish for the hot days of summer; it will fill you up, but not weigh you down. Enjoy!

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I mean, seriously, how cool is grilled lettuce?


Muffin Tin Omelettes



8 eggs; 4 whole, 4 white only

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 scallions, diced

2 cups baby spinach, chopped (measure before chopping)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

any kind of shredded cheese

salt and pepper to taste


Observe the vegetable goodness


Heat oven to 350°.

After peppers and scallions are chopped, heat 2 tsp oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Cook peppers and onions until they soften, about 5 minutes.

Add chopped spinach and garlic, cook for 2 minutes more.

While vegetables are cooking, crack 4 eggs into a large measuring cup or mixing bowl, then add 4 yolks.

Whisk together, season with salt and pepper if desired.

Slowly add vegetables to eggs, gently mixing to distribute.

Use the other tablespoon of olive oil to grease the bottom and sides of a muffin tin.

Pour egg mixture evenly into muffin tin, filling about 2/3 of the cup.

Top with shredded cheese, if desired.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.

Let cool, in muffin tin or baking rack; serve.


Fresh out of the oven


I have to admit, this is the first time I am blogging about food before I have eaten it! But seriously, these are going to be amazing. A few things to mention: all the chopping is a bit of a pain, however it’s worth it to get everything evenly distributed when you add it to the eggs. In fact, it may be easer to double the recipe and make two full batches to save time in the long run. Next, these are a little “watery” when they come out of the tins, but don’t worry. That’s just because the veggies have some moisture in them. When the omelettes cool or if you microwave them, the moisture will dissipate. These should keep in the fridge for about 4 days, or you can freeze them in an airtight container for a little over a week. I doubt they will last that long!

This is an excellent breakfast. The eggs are full of protein, and using only 4 yolks keeps the cholesterol down. Each egg cup has 4 different vegetables, and the minuscule amount of cheese used to top each one only adds a little fat and calories. Not enough to make a huge difference, but if you’re watching each calorie you can simply leave it off. If you need a kick of flavor (doubt it), you can sprinkle on some hot sauce or salsa for another serving of veggies! These can be eaten on the go, which is great for busy mornings, and because they’re “muffins” you may be able to convince kids to eat them as well! Enjoy!


Some additional thoughts:

I filled my tins a little too much, so I only got 9 muffins this time. 

These would be a great make-ahead breakfast or snack if you’re expecting company, or they would be perfect for a pot-luck breakfast or holiday feast.

The recipe I was inspired by said these have only 50 calories per muffin. With the addition of the cheese the count goes up a little, but I’d feel confident saying these have  around 75 calories each.

If you don’t like the vegetables I used, you could easily substitute something else. Mushrooms would work, diced tomatoes or white onions as well; basically these can be modified to please everyone!